Parents Daughter's Anxiety with Level 8

DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members see FEWER ads

ChalkBucket may earn a commission through product links on the site.
My daughter came to me crying the other night saying that she wants to quit gym. This was the same day that she came home right after gym and said she was really excited about her new floor routine.

When I asked her why, she listed a bunch of skills for level 8 that she needs to get and that they are all "really hard and scary." She said she is afraid she won't ever get them and is angry with herself because she is so scared. Nothing happened as far as falling or anything....she just thinks she will never be able to do the skills and it's causing anxiety. She thinks that she should have all of the skills by now, which I feel is an unreasonable expectation.

This is only the second time in her 8-year career that she has done this and the first time that she woke up the next morning and didn't want to go. She had a horrible mental block with her back walkover on beam that lasted months (that she obviously overcame with time).

We are meeting with her coach this coming week after he returns from an overseas vacation to talk about this.

In the meantime, I'm having a difficult time trying to be a supportive gym mom. I feel like I could really use another gym mom to have coffee with so that I can talk about it. My daughter is almost 13 and her hormones are all over the place. She also recently had a huge growth spurt that affected her body awareness.

I need advice, tips, resources - anything to help me be the gym mom she needs me to be. I have always said that I would not force her to stay in gymnastics, but I also don't want her to throw in the towel on a whim when her head got the best of her. I've gone through puberty with my other daughters, but none of them were gymnasts! This is a whole new ballgame for me. I often think I'm the one who is crazy. LOL.
 
Not a gym mom, but I have some thoughts if you'd like to hear them.

First of all, I think giving things time will always help. And realising that no matter what happens it's okay. Either she lets go of the stress a bit and gets her enjoyment back, or she realises she's met her limit and she stays in L7 or tries other sports. None of those things is a disaster. So no matter what happens, it's okay in the end. I hope that can give you some peace of mind on it all.

Also, I wonder if she's just been introduced to what she'll need to learn, and all that information at once was just very daunting. That would certainly be very hard to process.

Personally, with going to practise or not I'd say there's a few things you can do. You can always say "we'll go and try it out, and you're there a bit and you still want to go then we can leave". You can let her take a little break if she's not in a good state to be going, but my hesitance with that would be... if she really would like to go but is letting fear get in the way, then staying home may just make going back an even bigger obstacle.

Talking to your coach is a great idea. He can help put her at ease, and you can discuss concerns with him. Is it a good environment with not too harsh pressure? If she's not at ease, I think it's very important to have a gym atmosphere where she's not being pushed or forced at the moment to do anything at all. That gives her space to overcome her fears without pressure.

Just a sidenote. I don't want to be the person to say "it's a woman so it must be hormones". However, if she is starting puberty and she's getting very emotional, I recommend seeing if it's constant or if it's always at a certain time (e.g. a week before period starts). Hormones hit people differently, and for me I notice my core control at gym is worse on my period but also... Some people get nearly no mood swings but others get them really intensely, which can be super scary if you don't realise what's causing them. Keeping track of things can help realise if some issues are period related. Or if it's all fine on that front. anyway, sorry for the long sidenote.

Good luck with everything. You're not crazy. It's hard to see somebody you care about struggle, especially due to something they love. And especially when you feel like you have a responsibility to guide them. Just remember that growing up is always going to bring up challenges and emotions, that's not on you as a parent. That's not because you put her on gym. If not gym, she'd eventually run into something else in her life. That's just life. All you can do is try to be there for her, let her know there's no expectations, only support, etc.

Hope my words are of some help, but if not then at least I had a nice reflective moment here.
 
Aside from the emotional aspects (I think @HopefulGymnast did a good job there), I have a couple of thoughts.
1. There is not a single specifically required skill in Level 8. Not ONE! There are options. Some options seem easier for some gymnasts than others.
2. Depending on your state, she still has 3-6 months before meet season. If her gym has been preparing the gymnasts for future skills with drills (which the gymnasts may not even be aware of), then they will be pacing her to get the skills within the timeframe.
3. If Xcel is an option (and NOT seen as a "lesser" program), then she could always see about transitioning to Xcel Diamond and still working toward the skills she "needs" for Level 8.

Good luck. I do feel for you. I had one sign her team contract in August one year and decide the next week that she was done because she had mental blocks on 3 skills ... until November, when she realized that she missed gymnastics. She made the temporary switch to Xcel, which gave her time to work through the blocks.
 
Not a gym mom, but I have some thoughts if you'd like to hear them.

First of all, I think giving things time will always help. And realising that no matter what happens it's okay. Either she lets go of the stress a bit and gets her enjoyment back, or she realises she's met her limit and she stays in L7 or tries other sports. None of those things is a disaster. So no matter what happens, it's okay in the end. I hope that can give you some peace of mind on it all.

Also, I wonder if she's just been introduced to what she'll need to learn, and all that information at once was just very daunting. That would certainly be very hard to process.

Personally, with going to practise or not I'd say there's a few things you can do. You can always say "we'll go and try it out, and you're there a bit and you still want to go then we can leave". You can let her take a little break if she's not in a good state to be going, but my hesitance with that would be... if she really would like to go but is letting fear get in the way, then staying home may just make going back an even bigger obstacle.

Talking to your coach is a great idea. He can help put her at ease, and you can discuss concerns with him. Is it a good environment with not too harsh pressure? If she's not at ease, I think it's very important to have a gym atmosphere where she's not being pushed or forced at the moment to do anything at all. That gives her space to overcome her fears without pressure.

Just a sidenote. I don't want to be the person to say "it's a woman so it must be hormones". However, if she is starting puberty and she's getting very emotional, I recommend seeing if it's constant or if it's always at a certain time (e.g. a week before period starts). Hormones hit people differently, and for me I notice my core control at gym is worse on my period but also... Some people get nearly no mood swings but others get them really intensely, which can be super scary if you don't realise what's causing them. Keeping track of things can help realise if some issues are period related. Or if it's all fine on that front. anyway, sorry for the long sidenote.

Good luck with everything. You're not crazy. It's hard to see somebody you care about struggle, especially due to something they love. And especially when you feel like you have a responsibility to guide them. Just remember that growing up is always going to bring up challenges and emotions, that's not on you as a parent. That's not because you put her on gym. If not gym, she'd eventually run into something else in her life. That's just life. All you can do is try to be there for her, let her know there's no expectations, only support, etc.

Hope my words are of some help, but if not then at least I had a nice reflective moment here.
I appreciate that you took the time to write such a great response. Thank you so much.
 
Aside from the emotional aspects (I think @HopefulGymnast did a good job there), I have a couple of thoughts.
1. There is not a single specifically required skill in Level 8. Not ONE! There are options. Some options seem easier for some gymnasts than others.
2. Depending on your state, she still has 3-6 months before meet season. If her gym has been preparing the gymnasts for future skills with drills (which the gymnasts may not even be aware of), then they will be pacing her to get the skills within the timeframe.
3. If Xcel is an option (and NOT seen as a "lesser" program), then she could always see about transitioning to Xcel Diamond and still working toward the skills she "needs" for Level 8.

Good luck. I do feel for you. I had one sign her team contract in August one year and decide the next week that she was done because she had mental blocks on 3 skills ... until November, when she realized that she missed gymnastics. She made the temporary switch to Xcel, which gave her time to work through the blocks.
Thank you so much. You made some great points. I would totally rather her go to Xcel than see her quit the sport.

This sport is really tough because I tried to teach my kids that you honor your commitments, but there are certain situations that can happen in gymnastics to force one to throw that idea out of the window!
 

DON'T LURK... Join The Discussion!

Members see FEWER ads

Gymnaverse :: Recent Activity

College Gym News

New Posts

Back